Crown Agents Philatelic and Security Printing Archive

Crown Agents Philatelic and Security Printing Archive
Original artwork for the Gilbert and Ellice Islands 1971 1c stamp "Cutting Toddy". Part of the Crown Agents Philatelic archive.[1]

The Crown Agents Philatelic and Security Printing Archive was deposited with the British Museum (later becoming the British Library) from the 1960s, though the first recorded deposit from the Crown Agents was in 1900.[2] The archive consists of a range of philatelic and written material which were the Crown Agents working records. It is the most comprehensive record of British Colonial and Commonwealth issues of the last 100 years.[3]

This is a current archive and is continually receiving deposits, mainly stamps, miniature sheets, stamp booklets, and proofs.


Postage stamps

The Archive contains a number of the World’s most notable postage stamp varieties, including for example, the Fiji 1878-99, 2d error of colour, being blue instead of green, and the Gold Coast 1889-94, Queen Victoria 20s. green and red.[3]

Stamps that were never issued include the Malayan Union and Singapore Peace Commemorative stamps of 1946, which were not issued for local political reasons, and the Jamaica 1954 £1 Queen Elizabeth definitive in the design of the earlier King George VI issue.[3]

There are revenue stamps from many territories, which because they were often only printed in small quantities, and few survive, are classed amongst the World’s great philatelic rarities. Examples include the Nyasaland 1938 £10 King George VI revenue stamp,[4] and the Swaziland £5 Queen Elizabeth II revenue stamp of 1956.[5]

Written records

The written records include requisition books for colonial government orders, circa 1921 to 1968, plate issue books for a similar period, and paper issue records from 1940 to the late 1960’s.

The Archive contains examples of postal stationery, including postal orders and paper money printed in the United Kingdom mainly for British Commonwealth countries.

See also

References and sources

  1. ^ "Gilbert and Ellice Islands: 1971 1c. 'Cutting Toddy' original artwork". British Library. 2003-11-30. Retrieved 2011-01-16. 
  2. ^ Harris 1998, p. 414
  3. ^ a b c "The Crown Agents, Philatelic and Security Printing Archive". British Library. 2003-11-30. Retrieved 2011-01-16. 
  4. ^ "The Nyasaland 1938 King George VI £10 Revenue Issue | The Philatelic Database - Archive of Stamp Collecting Articles". The Philatelic Database. 2009-05-19. Retrieved 2011-01-16. 
  5. ^ "Rarest :: Queen Elizabeth II". All about stamps. Retrieved 2011-01-16. "The Crown Agents Archives reveal that 12,000 of the stamps were printed: remaining stocks were surcharged on the introduction of decimal currency in 1961. But no examples have been seen, except for one stamp perforated Specimen from the Bradbury Wilkinson archives, and one mint example, now in the British Library in London." 
  • Harris, Philip Rowland (1998), A history of the British Museum Library, 1753-1973, British Library, ISBN 9780712345620 

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